<p>Blake Lively talks &quot;Green Lantern&quot;&nbsp;at WonderCon 2011.</p>

Blake Lively talks "Green Lantern" at WonderCon 2011.

Blake Lively teases Star Sapphire in 'Green Lantern'

'The Town' standout embracing the comic book world

SAN FRANCISCO - Blake Lively is getting this comic convention thing down.  After a quick debut with the rest of the "Green Lantern" team at the one and only Comic-Con last July, Lively stepped in front of eager fans once again at this year's San Francisco WonderCon.  And she had little to fear.  As Lively noted as she walked the press line afterwards, the reaction was more "celebration than interrogation."

Read Full Post
<p>Ryan Reynolds promoting &quot;Green Lantern&quot;&nbsp;at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. &nbsp;He quickly flew to San Francisco to meet the fans at WonderCon 2011.</p>

Ryan Reynolds promoting "Green Lantern" at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.  He quickly flew to San Francisco to meet the fans at WonderCon 2011.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Ryan Reynolds says there will be more surprise voices in 'Green Lantern'

Watch the Emerald Crusader right after his WonderCon presentation

SAN FRANCISCO - It's not surprising that Ryan Reynolds will sleep well tonight.  No, it's not because he's a wildly successful actor who moviegoers adore.  Instead, he can breathe easier that his upcoming tentpole, the CG-heavy "Green Lantern," is finally rounding into shape.  Reaction to 10 minutes of footage from Martin Campbell's at today's WonderCon presentation was, as Reynold's co-star Blake Lively described it, "like a celebration."  And, considering the questions that have plagued the film since the ho-hum response to the first trailer, that's very good news.

Read Full Post
<p>Saoirse Ronan in Joe Wright's new thriller &quot;Hanna.&quot;</p>

Saoirse Ronan in Joe Wright's new thriller "Hanna."

Credit: Focus Features

Five reasons why 'Hanna' is the best movie you'll see this Spring

Watch and decide for yourself

 As noted by most theatrical distributors and even studio execs during this week's ShoWest convention, er, CinemaCon in Las Vegas, the first quarter of 2011 wasn't exactly the movie industry's finest moment.  Sure, there have been worse stretches, but outside of wide releases for Oscar nominated films you could count the number of quality films on one hand.  April should improve this year's track record on a number of fronts. One film opening next month that will be talked about for quite some time is Joe Wright's "Hanna."  

This pundit has been a fan of Wright's since he broke on the international scene with "Pride and Prejudice."  He hit a high note with his follow up, the Oscar nominated "Atonement," but even the underrated "The Soloist" is a keen example of his visual flair and rich attention to detail.  With "Hanna" he easily segues into action mode with an original thriller that constantly surprises and surpasses its source material. "Hanna" isn't the sort of film that is usually remembered during awards season and that's not why Wright made it (probably his mistake on "The Soloist"), but don't be surprised if it ends up on numerous top ten lists this December.  To be blunt, it's already the second best film I've seen this year.

Read Full Post
<p>Johnny Depp in &quot;The Rum Diary.&quot;</p>

Johnny Depp in "The Rum Diary."

Credit: FilmDistrict

Oscar Watch: Will Johnny Depp's 'Rum Diary' put FilmDistrict in the awards game?

Plus: AFI Returns and Sophia Loren tribute set

There are very few individual independent movie marketers who play the awards season game as well as Bob Berney.  While at Picturehouse, he help land a best actress Oscar for Marion Cotillard's work in "La Vie En Rose" and three wins out of six nominations for Guillermo del Toro's "Pan's Labyrinth."  And even at the short lived Apparition, Berney used awards season to reach an impressive $4.4 million gross for Jane Champion's "Bright Star" and three Academy Award nominations and one win for "The Young Victoria."  Berney has yet another home, FilmDistrict, and it's no surprise he's set to enter the awards game again this fall.  Today, FilmDistrict announced it will release the movie adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's "The Rum Diary" starring Johnny Depp on Oct. 28.

Read Full Post
<p>Natalie Portman as the White Swan in Darren Aronofsky's &quot;Black Swan.&quot;</p>

Natalie Portman as the White Swan in Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

Darren Aronofsky speaks out on 'Black Swan' body double controversy

Watch the movie's special effects reel and judge for yourself

Natalie Portman may be keeping quiet, but her "Black Swan" director Darren Aronofsky isn't.  After Sarah Lane, Portman's body double, claimed in an interview Friday the Oscar winner had only performed 5% of her full body dance sequences on screen Aronofsky has issued a statement to EW making it clear the American Ballet Theatre soloist knows not of what she speaks.

“Here is the reality. I had my editor count shots. There are 139 dance shots in the film. 111 are Natalie Portman untouched. 28 are her dance double Sarah Lane. If you do the math that’s 75% Natalie Portman. What about duration? The shots that feature the double are wide shots and rarely play for longer than one second. There are two complicated longer dance sequences that we used face replacement. Even so, if we were judging by time over 90% would be Natalie Portman," Aronofsky says.

Read Full Post
<p>Britney Spears has a lot to say on her infectious new album &quot;Femme Fatale.&quot;</p>

Britney Spears has a lot to say on her infectious new album "Femme Fatale."

Credit: Jive Records

Review: Britney Spears returns to the club with the gutsy and infectious 'Femme Fatale'

Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Kesha better watch out

Dance fueled pop has made a huge comeback over the past two years and it's hard to remember when the quality of the material itself was so strong.  Spears is no stranger to the dance floor, but has a lot of competition these days with Lady Gaga, Kesha (who contributes to "Femme Fatale" as a songwriter), Rihanna, a revitalized Jennifer Lopez and even remixed Katy Perry dominating the singles charts.  Either taking a gamble or just a reflection of her own tastes, "Fatale" is the most club ready album from a major artist since Madonna's "Confessions on a Dance Floor."

Spears told Rolling Stone said she wanted all kinds of different sounds on her seventh studio album and to play with her voice and that's exactly what she's done with "Femme Fatale."  Working with previous collaborators such as Dr. Luke ("Circus"), Max Martin ("If U Seek Amy") and Bloodshy ("Piece of Me") and new producers such as Will.I.Am and Stargate, Spears has selected songs  (and let's make it clear, she decides what is on the album musically, not handlers) with pop-friendly lyrics, but allowed the music to take some gutsy electronic risks that will even surprise some of her sharpest artistic detractors.

Moreover, she told her fans she was back in "Blackout" and "Circus," but on "Femme Fatale" she's singing that now she's in control -- even if that means escaping to the dance floor.  And who can blame her?  No paparazzi, no managers, no media pressures, no business pressures.  It's almost as freeing as the recording booth.

The album itself contains 12 tracks. There are four additional songs available on the Deluxe Edition.  Strangely, every single one of the extras could easily make any Spears album (and in fact, they are arguably all better than a number of the weaker "Circus" and "Blackout" songs), but if you are going to look at the album thematically (don't laugh), they probably don't fit. Perhaps Spears will pull a Gaga and release them on a second album later this year with a few other new tracks?  We can only speculate.  With that in mind however, here's some thoughts on the individual "Femme Fatale" songs.

Read Full Post
<p>Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez of &quot;Red Riding Hood.&quot;</p>

Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez of "Red Riding Hood."

Watch: A 'Red Riding Hood' interview goes way off course thanks to a thong

Was it only a train wreck in the interviewer's head?

Sometimes an interview just goes terribly wrong.  It's worse when you screw up a 10-20 minutes private sit down with someone, but one bad question or touchy subject in a five min TV interview and, well, the rest of the chat can feel like an hour of hell.  That's sort of what occurred when I sat down to interview "Red Riding Hood" stars Max Irons and Shiloh Fernandez last week.  

Read Full Post
<p>Puss in &quot;Puss in Boots.&quot;</p>

Puss in "Puss in Boots."

Credit: DreamWorks Animation

Surprise: Guillermo del Toro and Antonio Banderas' 'Puss in Boots' might be something special

reamWorks Animation's annual preview shows remarkable consistency

LOS ANGELES - Many in the media have been skeptical about DreamWorks Animation's long in the works 'Shrek" spin-off, "Puss in Boots."  A solo movie for a supporting character that stole just part of "Shrek 2"?  The studio, on the other hand, has taken the origin story of the seductive feline swashbuckler much more seriously.  On Friday morning "Boots" stole the show during DreamWorks Animation's now annual yearly preview from its stablemate, the much more anticipated "Kung Fu Panda 2."  Before explaining why buzz will be growing for "Boots," some thoughts on Jack Black's return to animated action.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Twilight&quot;&nbsp;director Catherine Hardwicke talks about reinvigorating the new &quot;Red Riding Hood.&quot;</p>

"Twilight" director Catherine Hardwicke talks about reinvigorating the new "Red Riding Hood."

Watch: 'Twilight's' Catherine Hardwicke gets Julie Christie to play a sexy grandma in 'Red Riding Hood'

Director happy to create her own world this time around

Checking out the reviews for "Red Riding Hood" so far, it's a bit shocking just how seriously some major critics took Catherine Hardwicke's "Twilight" follow up.  Considering some of the other dredge that's been released s so far in 2011, "Riding Hood" is more entertaining than you'd expect and that's mostly because it doesn't take itself too seriously.  The film has a running gag of a werewolf stenographer for Pete's sake.

Read Full Post
<p>Cameron Diaz will star alongside Colin Firth in &quot;Gambit.&quot;</p>

Cameron Diaz will star alongside Colin Firth in "Gambit."

Credit: AP Photo

Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz's 'Gambit' might give CBS Films its first jewel

Perception is everything for Tiffany Network's film division

The much beleaguered MGM could never seem to get the much rumored sequel to 1999's "The Thomas Crown Affair" off the ground, but CBS Films may have just landed the perfect 2011 model with "Gambit."

Based on the 1966 comedy thriller starring Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine, the film follows a London art dealer (recent Oscar winner Colin Firth) who enlists a Texas Rodeo Queen (Cameron "don't call it a comeback" Diaz) to help con one of the richest men in England. The project has some major pedigree behind it as the new screenplay is by none other than Joel and Ethan Coen.  Bringing more prestige film acclaim to the party is "The Last Station's" Michael Hoffman who is on board to direct.

Read Full Post